The first Constitution of Macedonia - Kresna 1878

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The first Constitution of Macedonia - Kresna 1878
by the Macedonian Rebel Committee, translated by Filip Korzenski

The Prescripts of the Macedonian Rebel Committee were formulated, it is believed, at the beginning of the second phase of the Macedonian Uprising in Kresna. The commander of headquarters, Dimitar Pop Georgiev, was again among the rebel ranks when the capital document was drawn up. They proclaimed the social, national, and philosophical aims of the uprising. They represented the expectations of the harvest of war, and they envisaged the open spaces to come. The ultimate aim was to create in independent Macedonian state in which social rights would be respected, and all residents would be equal before the law regardless of faith and nationality. In their international relations, they sought enduring equality, peace, and loving cooperation. The framers of the Prescripts expected, and rightly so, that the creation of a Macedonian state would be a positive factor toward eliminating the rivalry among the Balkan states, toward cooperation on the Balkans, toward equality and mutual respect.

The Residence of the Monastery of Dragalevci (Sofia), P. R, Bulgaria.

Kresna 1878

There are accusations among the scientific circles in Bulgaria that this text has been compiled by the Macedonian historian Slavko Dimevski and is most likely a forgery.[1]


The first page of the constitution of the Kresna Macedonian Uprising in 1878



The stamp of the Kresna Macedonian Uprising 1878

It is well-known to all of us that this ill-fated country of ours, Macedonia, owing to the egoistic aims of the Great Powers, was again left to Turkey after the Congress of Berlin. As a result of that, in certain regions of our fatherland many scenes full of blood, known to all of us, took place. Desiring to throw off the Turkish yoke from our fatherland, each one of us, as much as possible, rose up to sacrifice himself, since help was needed from each of us. We rebelled as advocates of freedom. With the blood we shed all over the Macedonian fields and forests, we serve freedom, as the Macedonian army of Alexander of Macedon did, with our slogan “Freedom or Death!"

Yet, owing to the events and the liberation of a great number of villages by our rebels, and the crying need to introduce order in the areas where the rebels are in action, we have decided to proclaim certain rules of the Macedonian Rebel Committee, or rather a Constitution, to which we shall all conform and the rules of which we shall all observe till the liberation of the whole of our fatherland, Macedonia.

The Aims of the Macedonian Uprising[edit]

1. The uprising in Macedonia, which is still localized at present, should be extended all over Macedonia.

2. Those people from Macedonia who feel themselves to be Macedonians and love the freedom of their fatherland are taking part in the uprising.

3. All the inhabitants of Macedonia may take part in the uprising, regardless of faith and nationality, if they only love freedom.

4. All people from neighboring or distant countries who wish the Macedonians well may take part in the uprising if they follow the orders of the Macedonian Rebel Committee and sincerely support the liberation of Macedonia.

5. The so-called Philanthropic Committees from outside Macedonia are allowed to support the uprising; their prime aim and concern, however, should be the following: collecting aid in terms of money, arms and equipment, clothing of all kinds and types, and readiness to send all of this to places fixed in advance so that it may be delivered to the territory of the uprising; food (to be delivered – editor’s note) to the insurrection areas in case of necessity, and especially food and clothing to those places where the villages and the houses have been ruined or will be ruined.

6. All the volunteers from outside Macedonia, who are true volunteers and truly devoted lovers of their fatherland and sympathizers with the suffering, are called upon, on their own initiative, with their sweat and at their own expense, to come to the place where they will join the ranks of the rebels and be given arms and all that is necessary.

7. Loafers, thieves and malingerers have no place among the Macedonian rebels, nor any similar mercenaries who have proved to be brutes equal to the irregular Turkish soldiery, who were and still are the cause of great distress among the people. Our cause does not need such volunteers. They had better go back to the places they came from and mind their own business.

8. May every volunteer, wherever he comes from and whatever he is, put on his shoes and set out peacefully, in a quiet, noble and salutary manner for his daily bread which he will be given on his way to the place assigned, in line with the general disposition.

9. Our aim for the Macedonian Uprising is by no means a secret. It is the liberation of Macedonia, the land of the glorious Slav educators and teachers, SS. Cyril and Methodius, which has suffered under the Turkish yoke for centuries. Therefore, anyone who does not fight for her liberation, but has an eye to the main chance, has no place in the uprising.

The Military Rules of the Macedonian Army[edit]

10. From now on, every volunteer, rebel and outlaw should first of all come to the Macedonian Rebel Committee at his own expense, with a Martin rifle, a dagger, a sabre or a yataghan and 100 bullets, without demanding such things from the Rebel Committee, which takes care of all other things in connectiom with the uprising. Those wishing to send anything that is necessary for the uprising should send it to the Rebel High Command, and not hand it out to private persons.

11. Every volunteer, rebel and outlaw of any Christian or other nationality is accepted, but he must first take an oath of loyalty and obedience to the Rebel High Command, and then will be registered among the ranks of the rebels.

12. Any of the three aforementioned kinds of rebels who does not obey this Command, but acts independently in the name of the Rebel Command, will be prosecuted in the name of the Rebel Command and will be executed.

13. Any outlaw who comes only to rob and kill for personal gain will be prosecuted and duly punished.

14. Any traitor and spy, irrespective of what he is and where he comes from, will be pursued and when caught and investigations carried out with torture, will be executed.

15. Any Christian or Moslem Macedonian, Turk, Albanian, Wallachian or anyone else who proves to be an opponent of the uprising and of the rebels, will be pursued and when caught, duly punished.

16. Any Turk who voluntarily lays down his arms will be allowed to go home and nobody will be allowed to do him any harm.

17. Any Turk who resists will be executed.

18. If a Turk voluntarily wishes to go he must not be robbed by the rebels.

19. The rebels have the right to rob and burn down the houses of the Turks who resist and to kill them.

20. Any outlaw or rebel or volunteer who rounds up Turkish or Christian livestock and sells them in the liberated territory will be pursued by the High Command of the Uprising and handed over for due punishment without questioning.

21. If a rebel, volunteer or an outlaw who has taken an oath and has been registered among the ranks of the rebels, does not carry out the orders of the High Command or does anything without its knowledge or orders, he will be erased from the ranks of the rebels and prosecuted for breaking the oath and duly punished.

22. All peasants who can bear arms will take part in the battles as soldiers of the Macedonian Army, if needed, and in times of peace they will do their farmwork in the fields.

23. A peasant who refuses to take part in battle when called upon by the Rebel Committee will be executed.

24. A village commission made up of three members will be constituted in every village, the task of which will be to follow where all the peasants capable of bearing arms move and to summon them to the Macedonian Army with their arms, if needed. No bribes or exemptions of people through bribery of the commission will be tolerated. Anyone caught taking a bribe will be executed together with the person offering the bribe.

25. During the time when part of the Macedonian Army stays in a village, the village-dwellers are obliged to feed it at their own expense, since the Army is a national one.

26. The villagers are obliged to accept the rebels into their houses (overnight) after the members of the family have been left enough rooms for themselves.

27. Care will be taken of the correct disposition of the Army to avoid billeting in one house twice and never in another; if it is a wealthy family more times are permitted.

28. The villagers will take care of the Army until the Macedonian Rebel Committee is capable of organizing a food store and building barracks for the Army to live in.

29. Wherever the Army gathers and resides for a longer period, it will have military training and be subject to military discipline.

30. The soldiers are strictly forbidden to shoot without reason or out of mischief, to kill hens or ask for money from the villagers, in a word, to do any kind of evil deed.

31. Heads should be chosen in the villages, three in every village, by the villagers and with the approval of the village.

32. According to this Constitution, the heads of several villages should choose a captain who will be their judge and be given written regulations to which he will conform in that post.

33. According to these regulations, in the presence of the captain, a list should be made in every village of those who can handle arms as well as the kind of arms they possess.

34. If anyone fit for arms is too poor to buy any he should be given a weapon from the reserves.

35. Every captain should have a hundred people under his as regular soldiers who should be always alert, as our experience in this has proved to be good.

36. All higher areas should be under guard, aiming to protect the villages, in two shifts of 10 days each. Care should be taken that wealthy men participate in guard duty, since it has been shown that they avoid their patriotic duty and, what is worse, demoralize the population.

37. In order that spying may not occur in the rebel areas, the guards should not admit people from the Turkish (unliberated – editor’s note) territory, and if such should pass through, they should be caught, detained and sent to the Rebel Command.

38. Nobody is allowed to move to the insurrection areas without a permit. Anyone who is caught without a permit or has proved to be a spy will be executed.

39. The Grecomans from the other side (the unliberated territory – editor’s note) should not be admitted to the insurrection areas, since we have information that they have a secret agreement with the Turks to sow confusion among the population.

40. The women’s societies in the insurrection areas are responsible for taking care of the clothes of the Rebel Army, patching, knitting socks and sewing shirts and underwear from the linen which they obtain from the Rebel Command.

41. It is ordered that the end houses of the villages should be evacuated and the volunteers who have come from distant areas hilleted there until they are assigned to the military units.

42. In the larger villages a few houses will be reserved as barracks for the rebel detachments until the Rebel Command buys 100 to 200 tents for the Army.

43. The owners of private ovens in the villages are responsible for baking bread for the Army in the village. Every rebel will be given one kilogram of bread daily.

44. The flour[3] for the bread will be given out from the stores with a receipt and will be distributed to the houses for kneading and baking bread. Anyone hiding flour which belongs to the rebels will be punished by confiscation of all the wheat he has.

44. Every rebel must be given the following food: one kilogram of bread, other necessary portions - beans or something else, 100 drams of brandy and a pouch of tobacco.

45. Every rebel receives a pair of shoes and socks and a shirt and underwear as soon as he joins the Macedonian volunteer army if he comes from far away. The local peasants will provide clothing and food from their own homes.

46. Clinics (field hospitals) will be organized in the main places for the sick. The wounded and the seriously ill will be sent to the uprising hospital. The seriously wounded and ill will be transferred over the frontier, to Kustendil or Serbia.

47. Since many Russian soldiers, without the permission of their officers[4], enter the insurrection territory and rob the population, the Rebel Army will disarm them and send them to the Rebel Command, after which they will be sent to their military units for further jurisdiction.

48. When our Macedonian Rebel Army liberates a village or a a town in a battle, no plundering of the population is allowed, even it may be Turkish. Every rebel will carry food in his pack and if he has nothing to eat he must be patient until the supply unit arrives.

49. Entering a Turkish house and asking for food or anything else will be considered plundering and will be punished by death.

50. Anyone bringing disgrace upon the Macedonian Army and the Macedonian Uprising in Whatever way will be punished by the Rebel Command.

51. Anyone encroaching upon the chastity of women and maidens will be punished by death, even it there is no question of rape.

52. Buying food, clothing and other things is allowed if the rebel has his own money and the purchase is not coercive.

53. The horses and the other livestock at the disposal of the Rebel Army should always be fed, even by force it the food is not given voluntarily, for livestock is involved.

54. The Macedonian voluntary army is not allowed to disturb the peasants in their daily work at home or in the fields.

55. If a peasant has a weapon and does not want to take part in the battles, the weapon should be taken away and given to a man who does not have one without compensation to the peasant.

56. No weapon should be taken away from anyone who has been appointed by the captain to keep it at home.

57. Nobody is allowed to sell weapons to the rebels personally. He should report to the Rebel Command, give the reasons why he is selling them, and if the sale is justified the weapons will be bought.

58. All the peasants who give the Macedonian voluntary army food or other supplies should ask for a receipt and keep it, because they will be reimbursed after the liberation.

59. But if somebody gives something to the army voluntarily, as aid, he should not be given a receipt, but, as he has given something, it should be written down in the book of gifts, so than we may know, when the time comes, who is a patriot. He should always be thanked for the gift.

60. None of the sotniks[5] is allowed to leave the Army without the permission of the Rebel Command. Wilful leaving of the Army will be punished by the deprivation of rank and expulsion from the Army.

61. If a sotnik leaves the Army during a battle, he will be punished by death. It a soldier leaves the Army during a battle he will be prosecuted by the Command as a deserter.

62. Anyone throwing down his arms during a battle will be considered a traitor and punished as such.

63. If an enemy soldier surrenders during the battle or in any other way, he will be sent to the Command under guard. Anyone killing a soldier who has surrendered will be punished by death.

64. Nobody is allowed to collect money or anything else for the uprising in the name of the Macedonian voluntary army without its knowledge. Aid will be collected by commissions in the villages, for which receipts will be issued.

65. Aid and money collected by the committees outside the insurrection territory will be sent to the Command.

66. Every committee of the Macedonian Rebel Command will have a registered public letter for collecting financial and other aid and will issue receipts.

67. The committees may buy weapons with the gifts and money collected and send them to the Command.

68. If anyone wants to donate to the Macedonian Uprising arms and ammunition in large quantities, he should be thanked in the name of the Macedonian Rebel Committee but no obligations should be undertaken in the name of the Macedonian Uprising.

69. Foreign volunteers should not be sent to the Macedonian Uprising without the permission of the Rebel Command, for though we need people and fighters for the Uprising, we have not enough weapons.

70. Volunteers sent from abroad without a recommendation from the Macedonian Rebel Command should not be admitted by the detachment sotnics. lt should be ascertained who sends them lest they should be spies who should be sent back.

71. If it has been ascertained that a volunteer is a spy or a propagandist or a plunderer who comes from Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, Bosnia or wherever, he should be questioned about who sends him and for what purpose and about everything he has been doing in the insurrection areas, and then should be punished according to the gravity of his deeds or sent back.

72. If a volunteer, already admitted to the ranks of the Macedonian voluntary army, later proves to be a spy of a foreign country or works against the aims and interests of the Macedonian Uprising, he should be punished in accordance with the laws of the Macedonian Rebel Army as if he were one of our men.

73. And if he deserts in order to avoid punishment, he should be pursued and when caught, should be delivered up to the Rebel Command. If he resists he should be killed on the spot.

74. None of the Macedonian soldiers, rebels or outlaws should make contacts of any kind with a volunteer or anyone else whom he does not know personally, reveal military secrets of his military unit or the whereabouts of his company, since there are many spies sent by the enemy and by those who have evil intentions towards the Macedonian Uprising.

75. The Turkish military units have been sending people from the unliberated Macedonian population into the insurrection areas for a visit or on some other business in order to spy on our military forces, arms and disposition. Such people should be first escorted to the sotnik of the military unit, and, should he find them suspicious, he should send them to the Macedonian Rebel Command or send them back.

76. Should anyone prove to be a Turkish spy, he shall be most strictly punished by death.

77. Nobody from the insurrection areas is allowed to cross the frontier without the permission of the military unit in the village or of the captain.

78. The peasants who have property outside the insurrection territory should be let out without a permit, but at their own risk. Care should be taken that none of them misuses this for aims contrary to the Uprising.

79. A patriotic duty of every Macedonian is to inform the sotnik of the Macedonian Army immediately of anything he has found out about the enemy and which may be of use to the Uprising.

80. Anyone who meets an acquaintance from the unliberated areas and knows him to be honest and sincere should ask him about everything that may be of use to the Macedonian Army: the military power of the enemy, the arms, the mood, the villanies of the enemy, and other things, and then immediately pass on what he has heard to the nearest military unit.

81. Anyone who learns any important news of interests to the Macedonian Rebel Army and keeps it to himself or conceals it, this later being proved, will be punished as a traitor to the Macedonian Uprising.

82. Apart from the regular forces of the Uprising, the Macedonian Rebel Army consists of the whole of the Macedonian population within the liberated and unliberated areas, so that everyone is a Macedonian soldier in a way; and irrespective of whether a man or a woman, old or young, everyone is obliged to help the Uprising as much as he can and in whatever he can.

83. Rebel committees will act secretly in every village and town especially in the areas near the front line.

84. Every rebel committee will have an armed detachment at its disposal which will go into action in case of need behind enemy lines in agreement with the Macedonian Rebel Army.

85. Every rebel committee is responsible for supplying the village with food reserves in good time which it will place at the disposal of the Macedonian Army during the liberation of the village.

86. The rebel committees will prepare lists of all the villagers who will enter the ranks of the Macedonian Rebel Army.

87. They should provide for the village by buying weapons through secret channels outside the liberated territory.

88. When the battles for the liberation of their village begin they should send all the population incapable of fighting to the mountains to avoid their being killed by the enemy.

89. For this purpose, food reserves should be provided and concealed in a safe place in the mountains.

90. Great care should be taken of the working livestock and the sheep while going to the mountains.

91. The food for the population in the refuge will be divided into equal rations for every inhabitant.

92. The committees will have an intelligence service among the ranks of the enemy, acting secretly and by all possible means to find out the intentions of the Turkish Army and inform their superiors in good time.

93. Should the Turks discover and catch an agent of ours, measures should be undertaken to prevent the consequences for others of our people from the confessions he may have made under the use of force. The contacts of the captive should be broken by transferring the person with whom he had been in touch together with his family to the liberated territory.

94. The committees will be in contact with each other through messengers; the more distant ones with the closer ones and the closest ones with the Macedonian Rebel Command.

95. The committees having a surplus of arms will give them free or with compensation to the committees not having enough arms.

96. The committees will have a transportation corps in their service (kiradiijas) for the transportation of arms and other goods from one place to another. The transportation of arms and other goods will be considered as military service.

97. All the inhabitants - Macedonians - are determined to fight against the enemy bitterly and to the end. In order to make our resistance successful, the town committees should undertake the appropriate measures for every committee to send 12 people to the villages so that they can ascertain how many fighters may be obtained and how much food the villagers may give, as well as the quantity of food to be collected.

98. The town committees, in case of necessity during battle, should leave the towns and set off to the front line after they have left a few people in the towns to collect aid from the town population.

99. When a place has been liberated by the Macedonian Rebel Army, a meeting of the elders of the village should be convened immediately and they should choose from among them two persons who will always accompany the commanders -in-chief.

100. Half of the villagers bearing arms should stand guard and the other half should do their work, and on this condition the guards should change with the workers at fixed times.

101. During battle everyone should attack the enemy.

102. Nobody is allowed to negotiate with the enemy on his own initiative about the surrender of the Macedonian Army or the liberated insurrection areas except the Macedonian Rebel Command. If anyone makes a decision to surrender, the Army should not obey his order and they are free to try him and condemn him to death, executing him in public before the villagers.

103. If withdrawal from a liberated place has been ordered, the p commander is responsible for taking protective measures for the population, the livestock and the food so that the enemy will find the village deserted.

104. If the withdrawal takes place during a battle in which there are wounded soldiers, the rebels will carry their wounded comrades even at the cost of their own lives.

105. Anyone deserting a wounded comrade on the battlefield and retreating to save his own life will be punished by death.

106. The same sentence will be meted out to any rebel who throws down his arms pretending he is not a rebel.

107. If there is a need to save the rebel forces, the commander may issue an order to hide the arms and for the rebels to disperse in various houses until the danger has passed. Then they will go to take their arms and report to the place fixed by the commander or the sotnik.

108. The Macedonian volunteer, of course, also has a cavalry. Besides its infantry, each detachment will have at least eight cavalrymen who will bear a sabre and a short rifle as arms. The cavalrymen enter the Army with their own horses, of which they take care themselves. Nobody has the right to take the horse from the cavalrymen, not even the sotnik.

109. The cavalry takes part in battle alongside the infantry and takes orders from the commander.

110. The cavalry also performs other duties in the Army, such as transportation corps, carrying of the wounded, carrying of food, etc.

111. In order to maintain discipline in the Macedonian volunteer army and to punish the undisciplined soldiers, each detachment will set aside a room serving as a prison for the accused and the convicted, guarded by a sentry.

112. The prisoner may be kept in prison not more than seven days. If the offence deserves greater punishment, he is sent to the prison of the Macedonian Rebel Command, where he will be put on trial.

113. According to the gravity of the offence, the penalties for the offending soldiers are as follows:

1. One day in prison; 2. Two days in prison; 3. Seven days in prison; 4. Disarming and expulsion from the Macedonian Army; 5. A fine for the damage caused; 6. Death by firing squad.

114. The death sentence is pronounced unanimously by all the members of the Macedonian Rebel Army.

115. The accused has the right to defend himself personally or with the help of a close friend or relative to represent him before the a court.

116. Nobody can be convicted without proof of guilt. Proof is either the personal confession of the accused or the testimony of at least two witnesses.

117. If someone confesses to an offence and later it proves that he has not committed it, the reason for the confession will be investigated. If he proves that it has been extorted, the one who has extorted the confession should be put on trial. If the confession has been made in order to protect someone else - the real offender - they will both be given equal sentences.

118. If a witness commits perjury in order to harm the accused, this being proved afterwards, the witness will be given the same sentence which the innocent person has been or would have been given.

119. Anyone who has been condemned to death has the right to lodge an appeal against the sentence to the Macedonian Rebel Command, for the purpose of which all the commanders and sotniks should be present. If the situation is such that it cannot wait for such a meeting of the court, the members will be asked to state their opinion concerning the appeal. If this is also impossible, the sentence will be carried out but only on the condition that failing to carry it out would be dangerous to the Uprising.

120. If any sotnik dares to pass sentence alone and condemns any of his soldiers to death and then carries out the sentence, he will be condemned to death himself, without right of appeal.

121. Not only a sotnilk, but also any rebel may kill a deserter during flight from a battle, However, if he (the deserter – editorв’s note) caught later on, he should be escorted to the Rebel Command for further jurisdiction.

122. The pronouncing of the death sentence by the Macedonian Rebel Command should be registered in a separate court book alongside the complete documentation, so that the court procedure may be easily seen, as well as the fact that the sentence is justified.

123. Those condemned to death and executed bear the guilt personally and the sentence has no consequences upon their families and close relatives whatsoever, unless they are in some way accomplices to the crimes.

124. If the relatives of the person condemned to death have benefited from his crimes without actually participating in them, their property will be confiscated for the Macedonian Army.

125. Having become convinced that it was impossible to start an Uprising in all parts of Macedonia, we decided to start a localized uprising in the eastern region and we liberated many villages and populated areas with our internal forces. Yet we have the great task of liberating the whole of our fatherland of Macedonia before us. We are now waging a guerrilla war against the Turks, but we intend to send rebel detachments throughout Macedonia to spread the Uprising there, too. Our first detachment will set off for the Bitola region to organize an uprising there. The detachment of 300 rebels will be led by Commanders Karaiskaki, Stefo, Pavle and Kara Kosta. The detachment will act independently while carrying out its task and will keep the Macedonian Rebel Command informed and seek advice by means of a courier service.

126. The Commanders of the first detachment are advised that, having reached the Mariovo Mountains, they should admit into their ranks volunteers from the local population who will be the basis for the establishment of a rebel army in that region.

127. After a considerable number of volunteers have signed up, the detachments should be divided, but they should always have an experienced commander and a certain number of skilled fighters.

128. The Rules of the Macedonian Rebel Committee will be in force in all the regions of Macedonia and the Uprising will be carried out in accordance with them.

129. In each region where an uprising is to be organized, regional Macedonian rebel committees should be established which will direct the rebel forces and keep in contact with the Macedonian Rebel Committee by means of a courier service.

130. Since rebel detachments under the leadership of local commanders have also appeared in other areas of our fatherland, such as the regions of Kostur, Malesevo, the cazas of Prilep and Veles, the Diumaja district, the region of Skopje and other places, the Macedonian Rebel Committee, as the central committee for the whole of Macedonia, recommends that all the commanders should establish contacts with it and make decisions to the benefit of the Uprising.

131. Special emissaries have been coming to us every day asking for arms and ammunition, which we do not possess, since the voluntary gifts of the Bulgarian committees have been rarely arriving recently. We recommend the emissaries to supply themselves with arms from the Albanian area.

132. Our Macedonian Uprising is internal and we are carrying it out with our own forces, and the neighboring districts within the Principality of Bulgaria do not have a fraternal attitude and send our emissaries back without giving them arms, so that we, too, do not have enough to be able to help our Macedonian brothers inside Macedonia. Thus we are compelled to advise that the arms and bullets should be used with care.

133. All those who have relatives abroad should ask support from them in arms and money, if they love their fatherland.

134. The Macedonians living abroad and wishing to support the liberation of their dear fatherland from slavery may take part in the Uprising if they supply their own arms and clothes.

135. The Macedonians from abroad wishing to support the liberation of Macedonia by donations in money and arms should not send them individually but in groups. The aid should be sent directly to the Macedonian Rebel Committee through the couriers who will be appointed by us and not by the committees in the Principality of Bulgaria as so far was the case.

136. A large number of Macedonians in Serbia have expressed their desire to join the Macedonian Uprising, attacking the Turkish forces from the northern frontier, but they do not have any arms. Should they find arms and obey our Constitution of the Uprising, they are welcome from the bottom of our hearts.

137. A huge number of volunteers wishing to take part in our Uprising have been getting in touch with us from all the Slav countries. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will accept them, too, if they bring arms and obey the Constitution of the Uprising. However, there are numerous adventurers among them of no use to the Uprising, and they should not be accepted under any circumstances.

138. The Macedonian Rebel Committee has under its leadership all the town committees for the liberation of Macedonia and invites them to send their representatives immediately so that they may be given instructions for further work concerning the participation of the towns in the Uprising.

139. The Constitution of the Uprising and the Civil Constitution will be ratified at a general meeting in the presence of the representatives of the committees from the whole of Macedonia, and we shall conform to them until the liberation, while this Constitution (Rules) will be in effect until this is done.

Civil Administration[edit]

140. A temporary civil administration will be introduced within the liberated insurrection areas, which will administer the social affairs of the population and which will consist of the most prominent individuals elected by the people.

141. A central political body - a Central Committee of five members - will be at the head of the civil administration.

142. Every populated place will have local committees consisting of five members, which will be responsible to the Central Committee.

143. The authority of the Central Committee is political, whereas that of the local committees is civil.

144. The Central and the local committees shall not interfere in the military affairs of the Uprising. The Central Committee is responsible for representing the Macedonian Uprising both before foreign governments and the people. The local committees govern the people as a civil authority.

145. After the liberation of our fatherland, the Central Committee will prepare a Constitution for the organization of the state of Macedonia as either autonomous or with political and cultural autonomy within the Ottoman Empire, or outside it, should the European Great Powers allow this.

146. Until the liberation, the Central Committee will prepare temporary rules for governing the liberated territory.

147. In order to establish order in the insurrection areas, the local civil committees are obliged to introduce necessary reforms in accordance with the aims of the Macedonian Uprising.

148. The civil authorities - the committees - shall guarantee the peasants the private ownership of land and property.

149. Nobody is allowed to encroach upon anybody else’s property, unless the owner of the property has deserted it without a reason or it has been confiscated from him.

150. Every owner shall till the soil freely with the labor of his family and has no right to keep more than one hired person.

151. Hiring farm laborers is most strictly forbidden, so that the present farm laborers shall become owners of the land they have been tilling in cases where the owner and his family cannot till it by them selves.

152. Farm laborers who are out of work will be given the land left without an owner with all the areas sown by its former owner.

153. Land left without an owner will also be given to the peasants having little land of their own to cultivate.

154. The produce from the land without an owner will go to the peasants who own little land, after the corn for the needs of the Macedonian Army has been set aside. A certain quantity of other fruits will also be set aside as food for the Macedonian Army.

155. The local authorities - the committees - will strictly see that the Turkish properties of the Turks who have not done any harm to the Uprising but earn their daily bread with honest labor are protected. Anyone causing damage to the property of such a Turk will be put on trial and sentenced to death.

156. Spreading hatred on a religious basis is most strictly forbidden; no distinction between nationalities should be made, since everyone is a citizen with equal rights under the protection of the laws of the Macedonian civil authority.

157. Various products and other things are necessary for the regular supply of the liberated insurrection areas, so that free trade with the neighboring towns under Turkish rule is allowed, provided that they do their commercial business honestly.

158. Every merchant should first report to the committee and, after obtaining a permit, may move freely through the populated place.

159. If anyone robs a merchant in any way or causes him damage, he will be severely punished with thrashing and will pay double the amount of the damage.

160. And if, owing to the state of war, a merchant sells the peasants goods at a higher price, all his merchandise will be confiscated for the Macedonian Army and he will be banished and never again let into the liberated territory.

161. Anyone who gives merchandise on credit or practices usury and so asks for a higher price for the merchandise or interest higher - than the usual rate, will be punished by death.

162. Desecrating a religious institution (church or mosque) for any reason, as well as theft of the property of the Moslem religious communities, is most strictly forbidden.

163. The punishment for desecration of a church or a mosque is death, and for theft of the property of the Moslem religious communities is paying double the amount of the damage and thrashing.

164. The Orthodox are obliged to respect and not to violate the Moslem customs; nobody is allowed to enter a Moslem house without permission, to uncover a Moslem woman, to let pigs into Moslem property, etc.

165. The Moslems, too, are not allowed to violate the Orthodox customs or do whatever they please as they have been doing and are still doing in the unliberated areas. Such acts will be severely punished according to the gravity of the offence.

166. Marriage between a Moslem and a Christian is most strictly forbidden, especially if a Moslem man marries a Christian girl by force. The girl will also be punished with thrashing if she has wished to marry a Moslem voluntarily.

167. Should a person wish to change his religion, he can do so after he has gone alone to the priest and declared that he is giving up his religion and taking another; yet a period of 15 days must elapse in the meantime, since he might regret his decision.

168. Every captain’s community will choose three judges from among the people who will temporarily replace the Turkish tribunals for civil matters. Every village will have justices of the peace chosen among the village leaders, who will judge the minor disputes between the peasants.

169. Since we do not have written laws, the people's justices will judge all civil cases in accordance with common law, after first having attempted to reconcile the litigants.

l70. Anyone who is not satisfied with the sentence of the village court has a right to appeal to the captain’s court; if he is still not satisfied, he may go to the commander and even to the Macedonian Rebel Committee, i.e. the Central Committee.

171. The graver crimes, such as thefts, fights, murders and the like come under the jurisdiction of the military authorities, that is, the commanders and the Rebel Command. The commanders court includes three village leaders and the Court of the Rebel Committee will have five members, two of whom will be civil representatives.

172. The most serious crimes liable to the death penalty have the right of appeal to the political Central Committee.

173. The village justices of the peace and the captainв’s courts will work publicly in the presence of both parties, and the trial will be recorded in the court book prepared for that purpose.

174. If the two parties are reconciled, nothing should be recorded as a verdict and it should be noted that a reconciliation was reached.

175. If Christians and Moslems are engaged in a lawsuit, the justices will be half from one side and half from the other, so that the trial my be fair.

176. In each liberated area the captain’s staff will organize a village militia, which will take care of law and order and be under the control of the captain. The militiamen will perform their duty as if they were soldiers of the Macedonian Army.

177. Each village must have one militiaman and, in case of need, more people will be engaged.

178. The militia in the Turkish villages will consist of Turks and in the Christian ones of Christians, If the village is mixed, both religions will have one militiaman each.

179. There will one or two (field) rangers in each village to watch over the village (field) property, paid by the village. The rangers in the Christian villages will be Christians and in the Moslem ones they will be Moslems.

180. Every village will have a crier responsible for informing the village about the orders of the civil and military authorities as well as the village needs. He will be paid by the village according to the common law. The crier does not carry arms like the rangers, who shall carry rifles.

181. Since the uprising actions started, our villages have declined economically and in some houses even poverty and uncleanliness prevail. The members of the family there sleep like pigs and contract the frightful disease. We order that in each village a lazaret should be set up and a literate man and two clean young girls should be charged with visiting the houses and when they notice someone suffering from a suspicious disease, they should place him in the lazaret under guard and then send him to the Command Hospital, in which there are physicians to cure him.

The External Responsibilities of the Uprising[edit]

182. The Macedonian Uprising is internal, but it cannot succeed if it fails to convince Europe of our struggle for liberation. The Uprising will be represented before the European states by the Macedonian Rebel Committee and by people appointed by it outside Macedonia.

183. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will strive, by way of memoranda and other means, and in the name of all the Macedonian rebels, to persuade Europe that the Uprising in Macedonia is an event which is indispensable and appropriate.

184. There are already rumors in Europe and voices are gradually becoming firmer in favor of our people. The duty of the Macedonian Rebel Committee is to explain the aims of the Uprising, so that the truth that our struggle is for liberation and that its goal is not to do any harm to the rest of the population in Macedonia shall be made clear to all.

185. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will inform the Turkish commissar that the Uprising is to the benefit of the Turks themselves and that it will be good if they do not hasten to oppose the Uprising but remain to live in an autonomous Macedonia, which is their fatherland, too.

186. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will also inform the government of the Principality of Bulgaria that the Macedonians will have no dealings with the Principality other than those of fraternal aid from our Slav brothers.

187. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will be represented in the Principality by our deputies, and the Principality may delegate its deputies to the Committee.

188. The Prince of the Principality is requested to beg His Imperial Majesty, the Tsar, the Liberator of Russia, as father of the Macedonians as well, to mediate before the other courts for the lamentable situation of the Macedonian people to be changed.

189. Dimitar Pop Georgiev is authorized to take upon himself the task of contacting all the Macedonian and other philanthropic committees within the Principality and abroad, as well as of collecting aid of all kinds for the Uprising. The donors should be thanked for the aid they send.

190. A memorandum of the things indispensable for the support of the Macedonian Uprising should be sent by means of circular letters to all philanthropic committees in Europe. Our faith in the rightness and the value of our sacred deed should be expressed in the memorandum: we do not despair, but continue to work energetically and tirelessly to attain our goal - the liberation of Macedonia from the Turkish yoke, since the Turkish authorities have refused to implement Article 23. of the Treaty of Berlin.

191. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will also inform our fraternal country, the Principality of Serbia, about the aims of our Uprising, requesting brotherly help for the liberation of Macedonia. If the Serbian Prince permits, we shall send our deputies to the Principality and accept their deputies in the Committee.

192. The Committee will demand of His Highness, the Prince of Serbia, aid in arms and other requirements for the successful conclusion of our Macedonian Uprising.

193. The Committee will ask the Serbian Prince not to discourage our Macedonians in Serbia from taking part in the liberation of their fatherland of Macedonia and to give them arms and allow them to go to the frontier without stopping them.

194. Our Macedonian grandfathers and fathers struggled and shed their blood for the liberty of the Greeks and the Serbs and for the liberation of Bulgaria; they did not spare[6] for the common liberty of us all. Now the time has come for them to prove true descendants of their famous liberators and advocates and to help their fellows in the liberation of Macedonia from its five centuries of slavery.

195. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will ask the Greek government to support the Macedonian Uprising and to allow the sending of Macedonian voluntary detachments from Greece.

196. The Greek government will greatly help the Uprising if it strengthens its activities against the Turks in Epirus and Thessaly and attracts Turkish military units. The Macedonian rebels will also help the liberation of Epirus and Thessaly with their activities.

197. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will invite to a fraternal exchange of ideas the Albanian champions and popular leaders who desire the freedom of their fatherland and call upon them to join the Macedonian Uprising both for their freedom and ours.

198. Unfortunately, some Albanian chiefs prefer the Moslem religion to their homeland and are on the side of the Turks, committing violent acts in Macedonia. The Macedonian Uprising will consider such chiefs as enemies equal to the Turkish pasha hirelings, cutthroats and sirdars, and will pursue and kill them.

199. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will send a deputy to the Russian provincial governor in the Principality of Bulgaria in order to deliver a letter about our Uprising and petition him for Russian troops to support the Macedonian rebels with arms.

200, The Holy Exarchate of Bulgaria, with His Holiness at its head, carries out a policy which is more than odd, since, on the pretext that it is caring for the Macedonians who remain under the immediate authority of the Turks, it maintains close relations with the Turkish government in Constantinople and is great friends with it; it believes that, by pleasing the Turks, it will gain some influence over them to send spiritual leaders (bishops) into Macedonia who will protect the Macedonian population from its oppressors. What a destiny for Macedonia!

The Macedonian Rebel Committee does not approve of such an awkward, policy which breaks up the concentrated forces of the people and ties Macedoniaв’s hands for her liberation.

201. The Macedonian Rebel Committee invites the clergy in Macedonia not to carry out the Exarchate’s orders in the country but to join the Macedonian people in revolt until the liberation, and later the Church question in Macedonia will also be settled.

202. The Macedonian Rebel Committee will send a deputy to His Holiness, Exarch Joseph l, in Constantinople to ask him not to hinder the Macedonian Uprising if he does not wish to be included within the ranks of the traitors.

203. His Grace, the Reverend Meletij of Sofia, who, playing the role of a helper to our Macedonian Uprising, has caused a lot of damage to our cause, will also be asked to give up his intentions, and since he does not help the Uprising, not to harm it.[7]

205. The Macedonian Rebel Committee, by adopting these rules, that is, this Constitution, decrees that, from now on the Sofia Central Committee has no more responsibilities towards the Macedonian Uprising.

206. All the orders of the Sofia Central Committee are repealed and the Uprising will be guided by the Macedonian Rebel Committee, which is in Macedonia.

207. From now on the Macedonian Voluntary Army will be under the immediate leadership of the Macedonian Rebel Command, which will mobilize the peasants, supply them with arms and lead them into a sacred struggle for the liberation of Macedonia.

208. The Macedonian Rebel Committee decrees that all Macedonians should carry out the orders in these Rules, or Constitution, without objection until the liberation of Macedonia and the adoption of a peacetime Constitution of an autonomous Macedonia.

209. Those who break the Rules of the Macedonian Rebel Committee on whatever basis will be put on trial before the military court of the Uprising as traitors to their fatherland of Macedonia.

210. The Rules of the Macedonian Rebel Committee come into effect as soon as they are proclaimed by the Committee and carry its seal.

211. The Macedonian Rebel Committee, alongside the Macedonian Military Command of the Macedonian Uprising, will have movable headquarters according to the places where the rebel actions are taking place.

From the Macedonian Rebel Committee

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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This work is in the public domain worldwide because it has been so released by the author.

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User annotations[edit]

According to Macedonian historian Slavko Dimevski а transcription of the Prescripts was kept in the private library of the late Bulgarian Patriarch, Kiril. Archive Department. Volume 2341 AE 50; L 30-60, Sofia. During his visit in 1968, Slavko Dimevski was granted an access to the document. He claims that he made a micro film copy of it, and later, after the death of Patriarch Kiril (1971), published it. According to Bulgarian historian Hristo Hristov the archive of Patriarch Kiril never had such kind of number. Patriarch Kiril has not numbered the documents in his Archive.[1] It is unknown until today, where the original is kept, if it ever existed. According to the version of Dimevski the Patriarch, Kiril, himself brought the transcriptions to Sofia. The Prescripts have yet to be published in Bulgaria, if it ever existed. They contain 211 Articles.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Христов, Христо. По следите на една историко-документална фалшификация, Исторически преглед, 1983, кн. 4, с. 100—106 (Hristov, Hristo. Following one historical documentary forgery, Historical review, 1983, 4, p. 100-106
  2. These Rules of the Macedonian Rebel Committe were proclaimed at the time when the Macedonian (Kresna) Uprising was at its height. They represented a programme of the Macedonian national liberation movement, which at the period of the Eastern Crisis meant an important event in the struggle for liberation of the Macedonian people. Here we give the Rules according to the integral text.
  3. Number 44 in the articles was repeated. Here we leave it as in the original.
  4. The Russian troops after the liberation of Bulgaria were also stationed in the Gorna Djumaja region (today the Blagoevgrad region, Pirin Macedonia).
  5. Sotnik, commander of a detachment of 100 soldiers.
  6. The words their lives are omitted in the original.
  7. Number 204 was skipped.